A Los Angeles police officer accused of strangling his estranged wife until she was unconscious pleaded not guilty to attempted murder Tuesday morning in an Inglewood courtroom.
Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and a white, long-sleeve undershirt, Jose Robert Figueroa, 29, was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, spousal battery and making criminal threats.
Before being led back into custody by a court officer, Figueroa turned toward someone seated in the court audience and appeared to mouth the words "love you."
Four people who identified themselves as family members gathered in the hallway after Figueroa appeared in court and declined to be interviewed but called Figueroa a "great guy" and said they attended the arraignment to support him.
The district attorney's office told The Times in May that Figueroa went to his wife's Inglewood apartment on May 18 and threatened to kill her. He then allegedly choked her until she passed out.
The woman called authorities and Figueroa turned himself in the following day at LAPD's Newton station, where he was assigned.
The LAPD began an internal investigation into Figueroa following his arrest, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith in May.
Figueroa remains in custody in lieu of $2.5-million bail.